The Top Dangers of Not Warming Up Before Workouts, Trainer Warns
Everyone knows you "should" warm up before a workout. However, skipping warm-ups is pretty common given busy schedules and the perception that warm-ups are optional. You might wonder, is it really that big of a deal to skip warm-ups? The answer is a definite yes. If you're unsure of the top dangers of not warming up before workouts, listen up.
Skipping warm-ups is a bad idea for several reasons, all by backed scientific research. In this article, I'll walk you through the three of the most important reasons you should always warm up before your workouts. And after that, I'll give you a quick overview of a general warm-up protocol you can use before most types of workouts to avoid the problems below.
Keep reading to learn all about the dangers of not warming up before workouts, and next, don't miss 5 Exercise Habits That Are Wrecking Your Body After 40.
Increased Injury Risk
Scientists have looked deeply at the benefits of warm-up protocols when it comes to injury risk. Injuries are a risk factor in both general fitness and athletics, so any means of reducing injury risk is highly valuable.
A recent 2022 meta-analysis of warm-up programs to prevent injuries found significant evidence that warm-ups reduced the incidents of sports injury among this population.
Earlier research has come to similar conclusions. Although some studies did not show benefits, the overwhelming majority of published studies support using warm-ups to reduce injury risk during physical activity.
With that in mind, skipping warm-ups increases your risk of injury.
Warming up isn't just about avoiding injury. In fact, warming up before your workout or activity plays a direct role in increasing your performance. Given the substantial interest in maximizing athletic performance, scientists have certainly looked into the matter.
A 2010 meta-analysis found that 79% of studies on the topic revealed that warming up led to improved performance on the various activities each study examined. More recent research has come to similar conclusions.
As such, skipping your warmup effectively reduces your performance.
Soreness after workouts is a reality of making progress in fitness. However, there is no harm in reducing soreness and the corresponding discomfort using side-effect-free methods. This includes warming up.
While you won't completely eliminate soreness with a warmup, a 2012 study found that an aerobic warm-up reduces muscle soreness in the areas of each muscle that are closer to your body.
Personally, I'll do anything I can when it comes to being less sore after workouts.
Recommended General Warm-Up Protocol
You can use the following warm-up protocol before most workouts. Do this prior to beginning the main exercises. For resistance training, you should still perform one to two lighter sets of each exercise in your program as a specific warm-up.
- Five minutes of light aerobic activity, aiming for a heart rate of 110 to 120 BPM.
- Two rounds of the following exercises:
- 10 small arm circles
- 10 large arm circles
- 10 Squats
- 10 lunges
- 10 downward dog to cobra flows
You can swap out other light resistance exercises, but try to focus on movements that move through large ranges of motion with your big muscles. Keep the weight very light; this warm-up should not deplete your muscles before the workout.